Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

June 6, 2013

OUR VIEW: Lawsuit will do more harm than good

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Here we go again.

We’re not surprised that Scott Lawn Yard has re-filed its lawsuit against the city of Lockport for its alleged mishandling of bids for the parking ramp demolition project. In fact, we expected it after State Supreme Court Justice Richard Kloch Sr. essentially spoon-fed them directions on how to re-file.

The suit was thrown out by Kloch because Scott Lawn failed to include the alleged winning bidder, Empire Dismantling Corp. Kloch cited case law in that decision which, although confusing, favored the city.

Now, a company that couldn’t follow simple directions printed in a legal notice — when nearly a dozen others did — is getting a second chance.

At this point there are plenty of questions. Here’s what we know: A temporary restraining order is keeping the city and Empire from executing their contract.

That’s it. Here’s the unknown:

How much time, effort and money will be spent on this case?

If the new decision still favors the city, will Empire still be able to perform the work? Many companies bid on projects when they know they have the time and resources available. If Empire has all of its personnel tied up in another project, will it decline the job?

If so, does the city have to put the project out to re-bid?

Would Empire have legal recourse for being delayed on a project that it rightfully won?

If a court decision favors Scott law, would Empire have legal recourse against the city for what would have been decided was a mistake on Lockport’s part?

How much more will the project cost when this is all settled, no matter who wins? The cost of materials — and labor — are continually on the rise.

How much ill will does this whole proceeding cause for all parties involved?

While we’re not surprised with the re-filing, we are disappointed that our tangled legal system permits a costly quagmire such as this. And we also wonder what it says about a legal system that tells us a company (Empire) — or person — who did absolutely nothing wrong can be sued.

To us, what it says isn’t good.